Brooklyn Park Considers Park Referendum
Come November, the city of Brooklyn Park could ask voters to support a multimillion dollar park referendum. The request would pay to improve existing parks and facilities. However, a new aquatics facility might not be included in the park referendum vote.
The decision of what, if any, park bond referendum questions appear on the November ballot could be based on the results of a recent poll. The poll of 400 Brooklyn Park residents showed 72 percent would support a referendum question for park facility upgrades.
“The community said very strongly that they would recommend some type of a park bond referendum,” said Jody Yungers, director of Brooklyn Park Recreation and Parks.
A park bond referendum would range between $18 and $26 million, said Yungers. The money would fund a variety of projects over the next 20 years. They include redeveloping neighborhood parks, improving trails and updating existing parks facilities.
Should voters approve an $18 million park bond referendum, it would mean a 2.21 percent property tax rate increase for homeowners.
Uncertainty Over Possible Aquatics Facility
The poll also asked voters if they would support an additional referendum question. That poll question asks whether residents would favor $23.6 million to build an aquatics facility. The question received lukewarm support. Around 50 percent of residents polled said they might approve an aquatics facility at that level of funding.
Some council members also expressed concern whether voters would approve an aquatics facility referendum.
“I fear that we will again not get an aquatics facility if we put it on the ballot,” says Lisa Jacobson, Brooklyn Park City Council member.
Jacobson favors an effort to build a partnership with another entity as a way to fund a new aquatics facility, rather than a referendum vote.
If the council decides against an aquatics facility question on the November ballot, it doesn’t mean the end for a new pool. City officials say it has a potential partner to fund an aquatics facility. The city has not named the partner.
The city council now faces an Aug. 24. deadline on whether to put a park referendum question and/or an aquatics referendum question on the November ballot. The current 20-year park bond from 1997 sunsets next year. The council is expected to make a decision when it meets Aug. 20.